What Thinking About Antitrust Law Can Tell Us About Net Neutrality

26 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2017 Last revised: 20 Dec 2017

See all articles by A. Douglas Melamed

A. Douglas Melamed

Stanford Law School

Andrew Chang

Stanford University, School of Law, Students ; Covington & Burling LLP

Date Written: November 27, 2017


The goal of net neutrality regulation—to encourage flourishing and variety among edge providers—seems unquestionably desirable. Less clear, however, is whether net neutrality regulation is, on balance, desirable in light of alternative methods of preventing such harmful behavior by broadband providers. Net neutrality regulation is intended to prevent commercial conduct that might harm firms or exclude them altogether. The existing antitrust laws are also intended to prevent certain types of harm to (or exclusion of) firms, and those laws are the most obvious alternative to net neutrality regulation. A crucial step to understanding the implications of net neutrality regulation, therefore, is to ask what the Internet world would look like if we relied entirely on antitrust law, and to compare that world to one with net neutrality regulation.

Keywords: net neutrality, antitrust, regulation, law, economics, FCC

Suggested Citation

Melamed, Doug and Chang, Andrew, What Thinking About Antitrust Law Can Tell Us About Net Neutrality (November 27, 2017). 15 Colo. Tech. L.J. 93 (2017).; Stanford Law and Economics Olin Working Paper No. 511. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3078147

Doug Melamed

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

Andrew Chang (Contact Author)

Stanford University, School of Law, Students ( email )

Stanford, CA
United States

Covington & Burling LLP ( email )

1201 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004
United States

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